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THE PHARMA REVIEW (OCTOBER 2008)

Microemulsions: Advancement in Drug Delivery

Sajal Kumar Jha, Venkatesh D P, Geethalakshmi. A, Roopa Karki

Abstract: Microemulsions are potential drug carrier systems for oral, topical, and parenteral administration. They offer the advantage of spontaneous formation, ease of manufacturing and scale-up, thermodynamic stability, and improved drug solubilization and bioavailability. Preparing a pharmaceutically acceptable dosage form demands a clear understanding of the micro-emulsion structure, phase behavior, factors leading to its thermodynamic stability, factors influencing drug release from the formulation, requirements of ideal microemulsion excipients, and the potential uses and limitations of the microemulsion system. Knowledge of the various methods available to thoroughly characterize a microemulsion system is essential. An overview of these factors is presented in this review. While microemulsion is used in several fields, in this review the pharmaceutical applications are emphasized. The review is written so that a newcomer to the field can easily grasp the important facts pertaining to this novel delivery system.
 
Introduction
The term "Microemulsion" refers to a thermodynamically stable isotropically clear dispersion of two immiscible liquids, such as oil and water, stabilized by an interfacial film of surfactant molecules. A microemulsion is considered to be a thermodynamically or kinetically stable liquid dispersion of an oil phase and a water phase, in combination with a surfactant. The dispersed phase typically comprises small particles or droplets, with a size range of 5 nm-200 nm, and has very low oil/water interfacial tension. Because the droplet size is less than 25% of the wavelength of visible light, microemulsions are transparent. The microemulsion is formed readily and sometimes spontaneously, generally without high-energy input. In many cases a co surfactant or co solvent is used in addition to the surfactant, the oil phase and the water phase.

 

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